Lavender-crusted Duck Magret Recipe

Magret en Croûte de Lavande

[Lavender-crusted Duck Magret]

As promised, here is the recipe for the main course in the flower menu I created for the French edition of ELLE (issue #3154, June 12, 2006). My thanks to Catherine Roig for allowing me to reproduce the recipes here. The picture above is a shot of the magazine page: the food styling is by Valérie Lhomme, the photography by Edouard Sicot.

Where does one find lavender flowers? The important thing is to use unsprayed lavender flowers: these can be purchased from gourmet stores and spice specialists. In Paris, you will find them at Izrael (30 rue François-Miron in the 4th) or Le Comptoir Colonial (22 rue Lepic in the 18th) for instance. (Lavender also grows very well on a window sill, but you should be aware that it tends to die a horrible death if the facade of your building gets repainted.) If you can’t find lavender flowers, substitute unsprayed thyme flowers, or omit them and make the spice rub with 3 teaspoons cumin seeds and 3 teaspoons coriander seeds.

What is the difference between a duck fillet and a duck magret? Both refer to one half of a duck breast, but magrets come from a duck that’s been force-fed to make foie gras, whereas fillets come from regular ducks. Magrets are more flavorful, but fattier than fillets.

For the rest of the menu, see:
~ Zucchini poppy carpaccio,
~ Raspberry and violet tartlets.

Magret en Croûte de Lavande

2 duck fillets or magrets, about 400 grams (14 ounces) each
4 teaspoons unsprayed dried lavender flowers (check with the vendor that the lavender is safe for consumption)
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
The zest of one lemon, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fleur de sel
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Serves 4.

Slash a few diagonal cuts in the skin of the meat. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small mortar or spice grinder, and pestle or process until finely ground. Sprinkle this rub on the flesh side of the meat, wrap each piece tightly in plastic, and chill for an hour.

Remove the meat from the fridge 15 minutes before serving. Preheat the oven to 200° C (400° F), and place the fillets or magrets (without the plastic wrap!) skin side down in a baking dish. Slip into the oven to bake for 15 minutes, flip the meat, and return into the oven for 5 minutes. If desired, you can switch the oven to grill mode at this point to get the skin crispy and golden.

Transfer the meat on a cutting-board, and reserve the cooking juices. Cover the meat with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut each fillet in 1-cm (1/2-inch) slices, drizzle with the juices, and serve with mashed purple potatoes.

What do I do with the remaining lavender? You can use it to make a soothing bedtime tisane, or use it sparingly in a compote of apricots, peaches, or pears. To make lavender sugar, grind together 1 tablespoon lavender with 1 cup sugar, and sprinkle on faisselle, yogurt, or crêpes.

  • Félicitation pour ce menu fleuri!
    C’est vraiment ravissant :-)
    A bientôt

  • i picked up this issue only last friday. have to check it out again then :) after all i buy loads of French cookery mags mostly for the stunning photography.

  • I can easily imagine how good it must be. I ve already tried some goat cheese whith honey and lavande. It was almosta dessert.

    Congratulation for this nice recipe

  • Last year I catered a wedding and served a lavendar lemon pound cake. Using a basic lemon pound cake recipe, I soaked it in a thin sugar syrup that had been infused with lavendar and covered in lavendar infused whipped cream. The bride was really happy. Afterwards, I candied some of the blossoms. My house REEKED of lavendar for weeks after.

  • Ah et bien justement j’ai acheté de la lavande et je voulais la faire avec du boeuf mariné, mais finalement, je vais attendre un peu pour essayer avec le canard qui m’appelle du fond de mon frigo. Et puis de toutes manières, à cause de toutes cette agitation, même moi, j’ai acheté “Elle”…

  • OH WOW! I’m a frequent visitor of Provence and love anything made with lavender. This sounds incredible!

  • jessica

    does anyone know where to get french elle in san francisco area?

  • marsou

    Tres bon et tres original. Avec une puree de patate douce, une jolie couleur en prime et une touche sucree pas desagreable! D’autres idees fleuries en vue?

  • j.turner

    I buy a whole duck, remove the breasts and cook them in various ways, usually leaving the interiour just pink. The legs & thighs I slash, rub with oil & salt, slow cook, using the dripping to saute potatoes, and the remainder is oven cooked til crisp & used in duck pancakes. The bones are frozen, then made into stock for duck soup. It is amazingly economic, one duck for at least three meals (for two people). Here in the UK Gressingham duck is the duck of choice & as a non-Brit living here I must say it is delish.

  • Penzey’s has edible lavender, but they don’t always keep it out at their stores. They keep it in back and you have to ask them for it. (They told me they do this to keep people from buying it up to use for potpourri). They have it to order online, too, but you have to type in “lavender” in the search box to find it.

  • Steve Cook

    That recipe worked perfectly, thanks!

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